Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Basket full of Eggs

I had my first round of blood work and follicle check this morning.  The blood work is to check my estradiol level check (estrogen).  In a natural cycle this number prior to ovulation is between 200 and 600.  Mine today (cycle day 5) was 425, this number will continue to increase as I "grow" more follicles.  As my estradiol continues to increase so will my emotions.  Not a pleasant time for me.

Now on to the more exciting news - I had 4 measurable follicles today.  Each follicles houses the egg.  Hence the name of this post "basket full of eggs" because that is what my belly is beginning to feel like.  

I get to skip tomorrows invasion at the clinic, but after that I will be going in daily for my blood work and vaginal ultrasound.  Fun times are just around the corner.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Wham, Bam, Thank you Ma'am

The shots are going well as you can see from the picture.  My last IVF cycle was the first time I gave myself a shot.  Up until that point Dr. G (my hubby) had been giving them to me, but one morning he has an early meeting and I was forced to inject myself.  I remember sitting on the closed toilet seat holding the syringe giving myself a pep talk.  You know the one, I can do this!  My heart was pounding, my hands were sweating and I was holding the syringe an inch from my belly.  Finally I took a deep breath and plunged in the tiny needle.  My first thought was "this is not big deal".  I honestly could not believe I got so worked up over something that didn't even hurt.  I laughed to myself and said "I did it" and I've been doing it ever since.  Dr. G was giving me my morning Lupron shot but now that I've moved onto the hard core drugs (which have to be mixed together) I just do it myself.  I figure if I go to the trouble of mixing the drugs and preparing the shot I might as well just give it to myself.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Pins & Needles and Herbs, OH MY!

I have to thank my wonderfully creative friend Sarah for the title today.  I actually held a little contest among my friends to help me come up with a title for my blog.  Jerri was the winner with Stork Stalker, but I plan to use some of the other ideas as titles to the daily posts.  And yes, there was a prize.  It was going to be a nice box of chocolates but my friend Jerri is on a diet so I gave her a bag of Dunkin Donuts coffee.

I went to my weekly acupuncture session today.  I've been going weekly since November.  I actually enjoy going and it is quite relaxing.  The main purpose however is to improve the uterus.  Based on my recent biopsy I'm not so sure, however I did get 3 normal embryos on my last IVF so maybe it is working.  I've also been taking Chinese herbs daily to help with my overall health.  I have to admit I'm fairly healthy.  I exercise regularly, I try to eat right, I avoid caffeine during my IVF cycles and I haven't had a soda in over 12 years.  Prior to trying to have a baby I was a runner.  I even ran a marathon in 2006.  Yet another thing I've given up in my pursuit to have a baby.  Oh well, there is no point in looking back.

I'll leave you with a little picture from today's acupuncture session.  I had 5 needles in my belly and 4 down each leg from my knee to my ankle.  This photo only shows 4 (that is a ring in my belly button not a needle).

Thursday, June 25, 2009

AF is Here!

AF is finally here and she brought her evil cousin Cramps.  I guess this is what happens when you don't have a period for 37 days.  I went to my RE at 11 am today and I got the all clear to start the heavy duty drugs tomorrow.  I will go from 1 shot in the stomach per day to 3 shots in the stomach per day.  Two in the morning and one at night.  My darling hubby likes to wake me up in the morning wielding the shot in one hand and a sweet "ready for your shot honey".  I think he secretly likes giving me the shots and I often wonder if this is his revenge for my grumpiness.  I've noticed that if I give myself the shot it normally doesn't hurt quite as bad.  I wonder why that is??

Other news from my appointment this morning:  I had 23 antral follicles.  These are measured by a vaginal ultrasound and each follicle contains an immature egg that can potentially develop into a mature egg.  23 is VERY good especially considering my advanced maternal age.

I will try not to bore everyone with the minuet details but a little education is good for all of us. I going back to lie on the couch and hope the evil cramps are over soon.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Still No AF in sight

As of today (cycle day 36) my period still hasn't started.  UGH!  It always starts when I don't want it to and never starts when I need it to.  I did call my RE's nurse and she said if it hasn't started by Wednesday then I should come in and they will take a peek at my lining to see what is going on. I've got my fingers crossed that AF finds me tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

No AF In Sight

In the infertility world AF means Aunt Flo or as I've always referred to it - my period!  Right now  I'm taking my morning shot of Lupron which is a suppression drug.  The purpose of this shot (beside torture) is to suppress you from ovulating too soon.  However you begin it on day 21 of your cycle and you are still suppose to have a period.  You can't start the HEAVY duty stimulation shots until AF visits and as of today (cycle day 31) she still has not arrived.  I don't know about you but when someone is late that is just plain rude.  

Cross your fingers that she will be here soon.  I'm ready to start my torturous 3 shots a day, bloating, cranky drugs!  Good times are just around the corner.

Monday, June 15, 2009

I'm an Aunt but not a Mommy

On Saturday June 13th I became an Aunt.  My brother and his wife had their first child and my mother's first grandchild.  This is my YOUNGER brother.  Of course this is one of those happy fertile stories where his wife went off the pill and the very next month she was pregnant.  She had a perfect pregnancy and now a perfect little baby girl named Olivia.  

I didn't attend my sister-in-laws baby shower because it was just too much for me to handle.  I had just finished IVF #4 and I just couldn't face a happy baby shower.  I know that anyone going through infertility understands how hard a baby shower is, but unfortunately fertile people don't get it.  However, I'm digressing here and there is no need to travel down that path now.

I went to see baby Olivia on Sunday when she was less than 24 hours old.  I was really nervous because I didn't want to burst into floods of tears.  I went alone and there was no one there to oohh and aaahh, except for me.  I was able to spend some quality time with this new little family and my ever present emotions.

I have to tell you when I walked in the room and looked at my sister-in-law holding that perfect little baby I did get misty eyed.  How could I not, she is perfect and a miracle and I'm glad that she is my brother's miracle.  I got to sit in a rocking chair and hold perfect baby Olivia and she is so beautiful, with her ruby red lips and button nose.  I looked down at her and I thought to myself I REALLY want one of these.  

I've got a lot of people praying for my miracle. Hopefully I will get it soon.  

Me & Baby Olivia

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Big Bad Biopsy

It has taken me almost a week to write this post about my abnormal biopsy.  Please forgive me in advance for the length of this post but a little background is needed.  IVF #1 we had 6 lovely embryos and due to my age (40 at the time) Dr. Terrific decided we should put them all back.  After the long TTW (two weeks wait) we got a BFN (big fat negative).  We decided to move forward with IVF #2 but this time we were going to do PGD (genetic) testing on the embryos.  We had 12 embryos that made it to day 3 and only 2 that tested normal.  We put these 2 back with high hopes and got another BFN.  At this point my Dr. Terrific decided we should do a biopsy of my lining to see if maybe that was the problem.  I did and EFT (endometrial function test) which is sent to Harvey Kliman at Yale Medical Center.  This test the endometrium’s potential to support implantation.  Mine came back abnormal.  The treatment for this was one Lupron Depot shot once a month for three months.  This is not to be confused with regular Lupron.  The Lupron Depot was heavy duty and sends you into menopause.  I now know what I have to look forward to when I get older and it isn’t going to be pleasant.  BTW I did the menopause during the summer.  Hot flashes in 90 degree temperatures are not a good thing.

After the 3 months we immediately did IVF #3.  This cycle looked promising.  I had 28 eggs retrieved, 19 were mature, and 14 were fertilized.  We immediately froze 7 and did PGD testing on the remaining 7.  All came back abnormal.  That was a shocker.  The next month we thawed out the 7 we had left and 5 made it through the thaw.  We did PGD testing on those and an even bigger shocker all were abnormal.  I was devastated to say the least.  I picked myself up and started doing regular weekly acupuncture (I had been doing it but only for a few weeks before each cycle).  I decided to give that 3 months and then move forward to IVF #4. 

 In March 2009 I did IVF #4.  My plan was to do PGD testing and then immediately freeze the embryos so that I could repeat the biopsy the following month.  The PGD yielded 2 normals and 1 that “appears to be normal”.  I was so happy until I spoke to the embryologist and found out that 2 of the 3 were slow growers and probably would not survive.  That basically left us with ONE good/normal embryo.  I moved forward with the biopsy and decided to do one FINAL IVF to try to get at least one more good/normal embryo so that we could put back 2 normals.   

Then the bomb dropped when the biopsy came back abnormal.  I have to admit I wasn’t totally surprised but I guess I didn’t realize the impact of what this meant.  Dr. Terrific said we could do one of three things.  1.  Nothing and put back the embryos.  2. Mock transfer cycle with medicines and repeat the biopsy to see if that makes a difference.  3.  Use someone else’s uterus (a surrogate).  WHAT?  I don’t want to use someone else’s uterus.  I want to use mine!  I want mine fixed.  If only it were that easy. 

 I have decided after IVF# 5 that I will be choosing option #2.  There will be more to follow on this subject as time progresses.  I do apologize for the length of this post but now everyone is caught up.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Young Love

Don't you just love young love.  I went to my nephew's wedding yesterday.  He is 1 month shy of 19 years old and the bride is 17 1/2 years old.  It was a lovely little ceremony and they seemed so happy and in love.  Not bitter and jaded.  Oh wait, that's me.  Did I mention the bride is 5 1/2 months pregnant.  I'm green with envy.  I wish I could take a roll in the hay and wind up pregnant, instead of injecting tons of hormones into my belly.  Speaking of hormones, I had my first day 21 injection of Lupron.  Fun days are ahead and my husband is already looking forward to the green eye hormonal monster that is just ahead.  I hit my face with the curling iron this morning (I know, who does something that stupid) and now I have a nice burn mark on my jaw line.  My husband wanted to know if it was hormonal clumsiness.  Yikes, I hope that isn't a new side effect.

BTW, I was so excited to see comments by girls from other blogs.  I plan to check out your blogs and thanks for taking the time to read mine.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Special Delivery

Special Delivery but it wasn't from the stork.  Maybe the stork's little helper?  Actually it was a big box of fertility drugs, guaranteed to make me cranky and bloated but not necessarily pregnant.  But a girl can dream.  

This is my first posting on my new blog.  I have long been a stalker of other blogs but have yet to actually write one myself.  I decided as I enter into my 5th IVF I would like to keep a virtual record of my experience.  Yes, I said my 5th IVF.  I will save that post for later as to how I wound up traveling down this long road.  It's late so I'll leave the back story for this weekend.